Affluent Give High Priority to Travel

With 85% of the affluent planning to spend the same or more for domestic vacation travel as in 2014 and 77% planning to spend the same or more for international vacation travel, the 2015 prospects for the travel industry are positive according to the latest survey by the American Affluence Research Center.  

This is the best outlook for international vacation travel since 2007, and the domestic travel outlook is as good as it has been in recent years.

As an interesting contrast, intentions to cruise among the affluent, at 13% or about 3.2 million cruisers, is down slightly from the prior two surveys. However, 8% of the affluent indicated they were undecided about taking a cruise, and many of these people could take a cruise.  

Intentions to cruise were highest among those age 60+ (17%) and the wealthiest 1% (26%) who have a net worth of $6 million or more.

When asked to rate travel as a priority for spending discretionary time and money on a 5 point scale (with 5 being “my top priority”), the average score was 3.0, with no substantial differences among most of the different demographic segments.

On average 37% gave travel a priority of 4 or 5, while about 6 in 10 of the $6M+ net worth group gave travel a 4 or 5 score.

Among 13 different vacation activities that might be planned for the next 12 months, the top 3 most frequently mentioned activities were return to a favorite destination (53%), use reward points to purchase or upgrade air, hotel, or cruise reservations (52%), and travel with adult children and/or grand children (40%).

Other popular activities are renting a vacation home/condo (37%) or staying in similar accommodations that they own (32%). As an example of some of the differences among the various demographic segments, these two types of accommodations were mentioned more by the higher income and net worth groups.

The higher income and net worth groups named more activities in total. About one in 10 of all respondents said they were not planning any of the 13 activities.

This latest survey by the American Affluence Research Center is representative of the 12.2 million households that have a minimum $924,000 net worth and are the wealthiest 10% of U.S. households according to the latest Federal Reserve Board research. The 359 participants whose responses were included in this survey have an average annual household income of $284,000, an average primary residence value of $1.2 million, an average net worth of $3.1 million, and average investable assets of $1.6 million.

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